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How to woo the money: tips for bagging a grant

AT-THE-BANK

Credit: British Postal Museum and Archive

You’re walking into a smoke filled 1950s bank, shuffling your papers nervously between your clammy fingers and praying to god you don’t get turned down, again, when you come up to the cashiers desk and a beautiful face is looking back at you through the grate. This is the feeling conjured, I think, when you’re trying to ensnare that elusive grant. Nervous, bashful, tongue-tied – really, bagging the money is all about wooing the bank lady. Let’s run with that.

While the surge in crowd-sourcing platforms has recently revamped the face of funding, more often than not grants still come out on top for people on the hunt for support (in cash or in kind) for their venture.  However it’s not all that easy getting one. Type ‘grants’ into Google and you’ll find yourself in a sticky web of form-filling, figures, eligibility questionnaires and confusion. I know, because I’ve been there.

So to save your sanity here are a few things to think about when you’re on the  prowl:

Know what you want. Whatever stage you’re at in your business venture, social enterprise or community project, you’ve got to dig down to the crux of who and what you are. It’s the question Satre wrestled with his whole life, but relate it to your venture and you should be able to conjure a pretty convincing answer for, ‘why do I exist?’. I recommend pens, highlighters and A3 paper. Go wild.

It’s worth knuckling down to some full-bodied research before you get trigger happy with the apply button.

Are you compatible? Now, we all know nothing good comes from chasing the wrong lead. So don’t go around flirting with money that’s not right for you. There are so many opportunities out there for funding, in all areas. You can filter your search by location, profit/non-profit, business sector and more besides, so it’s worth knuckling down to some full-bodied research before you get trigger happy with the apply button. Not every bucket of funding will be a good match – be selective and you’ll save time and minimise disappointments.

Accentuate your assets. Getting your bid accepted is largely down to savvy salesmanship, so don’t sell yourself short. Get back to the literal drawing board (another chance to take to the stationary) and ramble through all your notable qualities, starting with your project’s over-all purpose and running right through to your impeccable book-keeping skills. Then whittle them down to your key assets, whilst keeping the funding body in mind – telling them what they want to hear should come pretty naturally if you’ve already checked out your compatibility. Remember though, it’s all about showing what you’re made of, not flashing a fake grin and wink – they’ll see the pound signs glinting in your eyes from a mile off.

After completing my own tiresome trudge through the best ways to bag funding, I’d say these are by far the most fundamental points to get you off on the right foot. So imagine you’re standing at that 1950s cashier counter and start selling yourself. Then get set to see your business idea soar.

For further information on funding, check out:

Funding Central

Business finance support finder

Centre for entrepreneurs

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